2016 Assessment of the Shark Stock Complex in the Gulf of Alaska
The shark complex (spiny dogfish, Pacific sleeper shark, salmon shark and other/unidentified sharks) in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) is assessed on a biennial stock assessment schedule that coincides with the availability of new trawl survey biomass estimates. In alternate (even) years we present an executive summary to recommend harvest levels for the next two years. For detailed information regarding the assessment, please refer to the last full stock assessment.
The complex acceptable biological catch (ABC) and overfishing level (OFL) are based on the sum of the ABC and OFL calculations for the individual species. For an off-cycle year, there is no new survey information for the shark stock complex; therefore, the 2015 estimates are used in 2016 assessment.
There is no evidence to suggest that overfishing is occurring for any shark species in the GOA because the OFL has not been exceeded. Total shark catch in 2015 was 1,414 t and catch in 2016 was 1,329 t as of October 3, 2016 for GOA waters. While catch resulting from federal fisheries in NMFS areas 649 and 659 (Prince William Sound and inside Southeast Alaska, respectively, combined termed “Inside waters”) does not count against the federal TAC, nor is it in the calculation of ABC and OFL, we track catch in those areas in the assessment because a substantial portion of the shark catch occurs in those areas. The combined catch in these inside waters was 154 t in 2015 and 172 t in 2016 as of October 3, 2016. We continue the recommendations from last year’s full assessment.The recommended ABC for 2017 and 2018 is 4,514 t and the OFL is 6,020 t for the shark complex combined. There are currently no directed commercial fisheries for shark species in federally or state managed waters of the GOA, and most incidental catch is not retained.